Terry Gross and paying customers

Friday 18 January 2008

I’ve been listening to podcasts of Fresh Air, the NPR interview show. I was struck by the intro blurb that precedes every podcast:

This is Terry Gross, the host of Fresh Air. You’re listening to our podcast. Our program would not exist without our listeners who support their local public radio stations, so we want to start by saying, “Thanks.”

How classy is that? These days there is so much content going online digitally, and so many people wringing their hands about how they will get paid, and who has the rights to use what, and how to track it and how to punish those that break the rules. The music industry treats their customers like criminals, DVDs always start with stern warnings and FBI logos. Fresh Air could have taken a similar confrontational stance.

Instead, they assumed the best, treated their listeners with respect, yet still got the message across that they have a responsibility to help support the endeavor. It’s true that NPR is in a different position than record labels, but not that different. There’s something to be said for entering a relationship with your customer where you focus on the good that could have happened rather than the bad.


Every time I hear that, I expect it to be followed by her actually saying "Thanks", but instead it skips straight into the show itself. Every Single Time. You'd think after N months of hearing that daily, I'd be used to it by now, but no; I keep having a feeling like getting to the top of a staircase when I thought there was one more stair.
This is such a great program - I especially like Terry Gross' laugh. This touch of class doesn't surprise me. Imagine if most listeners actually contributed? What kind of a place could NPR be then?

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